How to Answer Weird Interview Questions

It’s not an urban legend… many employers ask weird interview questions to catch you off guard and test your ability to think on the fly. Succeeding in your next interview may depend on how well you can answer the question: “What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?”

Each year, releases a list of the top 10 oddball interview questions.  These are real questions, presented to candidate. They include curveballs like:

  • On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.
  • What song best describes your work ethic?
  • Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?

Why do employers ask such seemingly-bizarre questions? According to Samantha Zupan at, “Employers are looking to understand how candidates think, how they process and approach difficult brainteaser questions, and how candidates think on their feet when in a stressful situation.”

Here are a few more weird interview questions and my suggestions on how to answer them:

How many cows are in Canada?

Employers aren’t looking for a correct answer. Really. Who knows how many cows are in Canada? So think your way through these hard questions with creativity.

Show your problem solving skills by saying, “I would need some time to research this but I assume there are two cows for every vegan and one cow for every vegetarian in Canada.” It’s a pithy answer and demonstrates how you would go about solving the problem.

How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?

Don’t reach for a ruler and a calculator. Instead, think about how you can use your response to demonstrate confidence and character.

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I believe those who ask absurd questions like this often deserve equally absurd answers. My recommended answer:  “I would find out how much the entry fee is for access to the top and multiply that dollar amount by four to account for the number of quarters needed and I’d probably have to account for subway fare to get there too.” Close with a confident smile.

What kitchen utensil would you be?

Coming up with an answer to an absurd question like this shows how you can think on your feet and act with courage.

Wow your interviewer by saying, “Based on my research, I believe that your company would be a spoon and the one thing every spoon needs is a fork. With soup always comes a salad, no? I’d be a fork.”

Just remember…

Don’t stress out. Take a deep breath. Pause for a moment. Show that you’ve researched the company, that you’re the candidate for the job, that you’re cool under pressure. As Hans Solo says, “I don’t know, fly casual.”